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Hundreds pray at Rafah crossing to protest closure

12:00 Jan 16 2015 Rafa

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GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Hundreds of Palestinians performed Friday prayers in front of the Rafah crossing in Gaza in protest over its prolonged closure.

Protesters demanded that Egypt reopen the crossing -- the only connection between Palestinians in Gaza and the outside world -- and urged the Palestinian Authority to support them.

The Palestinian Ministry of Internal Affairs says over 25,000 humanitarian cases are on a waiting list to use the crossing for medical treatment and to continue their studies abroad.

Some 2,352 Palestinians were able to leave Gaza when Egypt reopened the crossing for three days in December, after having closed the crossing in October after an attack on Egyptian soldiers by militants in Sinai.

In comparison, during the first six months of the year when the crossing was closed for a total of 22 days, an average of 6,400 people crossed each month, the UN has said.

The jointly-enforced Israeli-Egyptian blockade on the tiny territory has led to frequent humanitarian crises and armed conflicts with Israel, and is currently limiting the entry of construction material for the devastated Strip's post-war reconstruction, promised by the international community.

The Rafah crossing has been the principal connection between Gaza's 1.8 million residents and the outside world since the imposition of an economic blockade by Israeli authorities beginning in 2006-7.
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